The Gray Bichir (Polypterus senegalus), also known as the Senegal Bichir and Cuvier’s Bichir, is a predatory fish. In captivity, it will consume any live or dead animal that can be swallowed or broken apart then swallowed. The only thing that prevents a bichir from emptying an aquarium of smaller fish is its relatively slow speed.
The body is long (14 inches) and about as deep as it is wide. A serrated dorsal fin runs along most of the body until it meets the caudal fin. The pectoral fins attach just behind and below the gill openings and are the primary means of locomotion, providing a slow, graceful appearance. The head is small and lizard-like with a gaping mouth and small eyes on either side. Since its eyesight is poor the bichir primarily hunts by smell. External nostrils protrude from the nose of the fish to enable this.
Sexes can be told apart by looking at the anal fins. Male bichirs would have a broader anal fin than the females. However, this is only true for mature males and not the young ones. Also, males seem to have thicker dorsal spines than the females, though normally, females tend to be larger than the males.
Bichirs will take dry foods such as shrimp pellets and occasionally cichlid pellets as well as flakes. They will readily accept frozen bloodworms, blackworms, and other frozen foods. They will also accept earthworms. Take care to wash the worms after collecting them, and make sure no pesticides have been recently spread.